They’re coming down…finally.
The statues, that is.
Among same-sex marriage, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), ethics regulations, and a host of myriad issues, into the category of things the progressive movement is winning we can put the fight over statues commemorating Confederate generals.
But Confederate generals’ statues are not the only symbols of hate we erect in America.
In just over one month, children all over the country will get a day off school to celebrate the man who “discovered America” through murder, spreading disease, and enslaving indigenous people–Christoper Columbus.
But New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, is planning on doing something about that.
In the wake of violence at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia this month at which white supremacists protested the planned removal of Confederate general Robert E. Lee’s statue, Mayor de Blasio has announced a 90-day commission review of all “symbols of hate” on NYC property, including the 76-foot statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle.
At a rally calling for the removal of J. Marion Sims, a surgeon some dub the father of modern gynecology who experimented on Black slaves without anesthesia, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said:
“I will wait for the commission, as I said Christopher Columbus is a controversial figure to many of us particularly in the Caribbean and I think that that has to be looked at, when you have to look at history we have to look at it thoroughly and clearly. I know some people may take offense to that but for many of us that come from the Caribbean islands, we see him as a controversial figure.”
“Everyone should acknowledge these are complex issues and that’s why it was important to put together a commission. I think the important thing to do is let that commission get going, let them take every nomination — if you will — from everyday New Yorkers, from elected officials, activists, look at the whole picture and come back with a plan.”
Nicole Malliotakis, Republican challenger to de Blasio in the upcoming mayoral race, said:
“That’s the problem with this mayor, is he’s quick to send off a press release and now you have even Christopher Columbus, the founder of our nation, is under attack.”
Historians don’t believe Columbus ever set foot on mainland North America.
Grant’s Tomb is the final resting place of President Ulysses S. Grant, also located in the city. During the Civil War, then-General Grant delivered an order expelling Jewish Americans from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
Mayor de Blasio was asked if Grant’s Tomb was also considered for removal. He said:
“[I’m not] familiar with that history [but] we don’t tolerate anti-Semitism in New York City. We have to look at each one of these cases. We’ll have a commission that does that.”
Even if the commission decides Grant’s Tomb must be included, it is a national monument, which could limit the city’s options over over what to do with it.
Some are also calling on the mayor to re-name streets, such as General Lee Avenue and Brooklyn’s Stonewall Jackson Drive.
Image credit: Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons